Dutch Regulator Fines Tipico €531,250 in Offshore Gambling Crackdown

  • Tipico was allowing Dutch residents to use its online gambling platform
  • The Dutch regulated online gambling market launches October 1, but Tipico might be left out
  • The investigation into Tipico began in January 2020
  • Dutch authorities plan to crack down severely on illegal gambling operators targeting residents
Netherlands tulip field and windmills
The Dutch gambling regulator has issued a €531,250 fine to Tipico’s Malta subsidiary for illegally targeting residents of the Netherlands. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

A variety of offenses

The Netherlands’ gambling regulator has fined Tipico’s Malta-based subsidiary €531,250 ($622,494) for illegally targeting Dutch people with its online gambling offering. People in the Netherlands were able to gamble through the tipico.com website; this offense alone cost Tipico a €200,000 ($234,351) fine from Kansspelautoriteit (KSA).

the KSA increased the total fine by 25% as a result of age verification failures

There were then three further fines of €75,000 ($87,881) each. Two of these fines were for offering online casino games and live sports betting to Dutch residents, as both activities are illegal in the country. Another €75,000 got added for Tipico’s inactivity fee which was charged to customers who had funds in their accounts for a long time without using them. Finally, the KSA increased the total fine by 25% as a result of age verification failures.

Following this enforcement by the KSA, people can longer go to the Tipico website when using a Dutch IP address. With the country’s regulated online gambling market set to go live on October 1, this sanction could mean that Tipico will lose out on the opportunity to get an operating license.

Extensive investigation

KSA’s investigation into Tipico officially began on January 10, 2020. It found no mention on the website whereby Netherlands players were made aware that they could not legally participate in online gambling. The only somewhat relevant thing was in the site’s terms and conditions, stating that “players may only use the services that Tipico offers if the laws of the country from which those services are used allow.”

The KSA conducted numerous follow-up investigations and found that these types of problems still existed, so it sent Tipico a report in December 2020 outlining the various issues. The operator issued a response the following month, arguing that it was not in violation of any laws as it did not directly target people in the Netherlands. It also contested a number of the other claims, including the age verification issue.

whether an operator is specifically targeting Dutch residents or not is irrelevant

The KSA responded by saying that, as per the Dutch Gambling Act that took effect earlier this year, whether an operator is specifically targeting Dutch residents or not is irrelevant in determining if an offering is illegal. It also was not able to find proof that Tipico did, in fact, follow proper procedures regarding age verification checks.

Long-awaited launch of the regulated market

It was only earlier this week that the KSA explained how it was going to crack down on any illegal operators. This will be done through the use of stricter punishments in order to maintain order in the gambling sphere. As part of the new regulations, any illegal operators that have revenue of over €15m ($17.6m) will face a fine of 4% of their turnover.

The regulated online gambling market has been in the works for years in the Netherlands. Following a long process of pushing legislation through, the Remote Gambling Act went into effect on April 1, with operations able to launch starting October 1. The KSA is planning to reveal the operators that were successful in getting a license by the end of September.

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